Monday, March 23, 2015

FMQ Challenge 2015 - March

I am really enjoying the FMQ Challenge BUT this month I am a bad student! Instead of making a pillow, I made a table runner! I know I won't be eligible for prizes but I'm here to learn not win! 

The FMQ Challenge is hosted by QuiltShopGal and you might want to stop over there and see all the neat pillows that all the other good students made. This month's expert is Patsy Thompson who does gorgeous free motion quilting. Patsy was the expert for the December 2012 FMQ Challenge and I didn't get to do that month so I was happy to have this opportunity. 

I spent LOTS of time with pencil and paper while I sketched border designs. Then, while making some table mats/runners, I decided one was perfect to try what I was learning. You can see all 5 of my mats/runners here.

This mat is made from batiks, even the backing. The batting is Dream Poly. I used Aurifil thread to do the quilting.

The center is a small spiral with flower petals surround it. Sorry it's so hard to see. The petals are then echoed to fill the space. The inside cream 'border' is a wavy feather design that Patsy suggested. It was fun to do and I loved the way it turned out. The red 'border' is a wavy line of about a 1/2 inch scale going back and forth.

The next cream 'border' is more of the wavy feathers while the last red 'border' has more wavy lines with stones on each side.
The corners before the border each have a small 3 part feather. The outside border is a design that could be a lazy river or a tree bark.

I enjoyed the challenge this month - partly because I just happened to have the perfect project and mostly because I learned some new things.

Some Quilting Finishes!!!

At long last, I have some quilting finishes! They are all small projects but they are done!

A while back I made a couple of small table mats. I guess I didn't post about them! Must have been too busy with the remodel...

All of these are done with red batiks and cream colored batiks. I backed each with a neutral colored batik and used Aurifil thread for the quilting.

This is one of the disappearing windmill patterns quilted with Paisley.

The next one is one of the disappearing hour glass patterns. I also quilted it with the Paisley.

In the past week, I have finished the other three table mats/runners for our family room.

I made this one like a chevron going in two directions. Each strip is quilted as if it were a border. This is my 'entry' in the March FMQ Challenge - you can see more photos and learn more here.



The Irish Chain  is quilted with feathers. I had a few places to fill in so I used small circles/stones.



The last runner is much larger - it is for a behind-the-sofa table. It is quilted with an all over pattern with flower petals that are echoed.



All of the mats/runners are in use!

 

 























It's so nice to have some cohesiveness in the room. And it's even better to have found time to quilt!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Stately Hockey Weekend

We left home Friday morning and headed north, way, way north for the Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association (WAHA) State Tournament. The Squirt B teams played in Ashland, Wisconsin - that is on the southern edge of Lake Superior. Our grandson's team (all 10 and under) got the wildcard spot and they were one super excited team! 

Friday was a gorgeous day. We had our first picnic of the year outside in sunny, 61 degree weather! I took this photo at a rest stop about an hour south of Stevens Point,WI. It was so wonderful to be outside eating!

We got to Ashland and checked into our motel. We were supposed to have a king room with a sofa but got upgraded to a king suite with a sofa and a whirlpool bath. It was a corner room with a lake view. Our 6 large windows were arranged in a semicircle. The room wouldn't all fit into one picture! 

Our kids played some great hockey this weekend. Although they did not win the championship, they played well. Their second game on Saturday was one of the most exciting games I've ever watched! It was great fun. We never expected them to be at the State Tournament this year five on the team are first year players and we are very proud of their accomplishments.

Ray took lots of photos all weekend. But he hasn't had time to go through them so I'll just add one that I took through the mesh. This is my favorite player, #42, going to get his medal.

When our games were over on Saturday, Ray and I took a beautiful drive to Bayfield, WI . Just thought we'd do a little sightseeing and maybe find a piece of pie. After all it was pi day 3-14-15. We didn't find any pastries but we did find Orchard's Edge Quilt Shop about 10 minutes before closing. I used my 10 minutes wisely and checked out with my small purchase - one jelly roll - at 4:59PM. There were still people in the shop but I hate to stay after closing time so we were on our way. 

After a pleasant trip home today, we unpacked and had a late dinner. Now it's time to just relax. The weekend was great!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A soft, warm cowl and a beautiful spring day!

It is gorgeous outside today. We just took a walk - it is 55 degrees! You can see the snow is slowly leaving our backyard.

Spring is really coming!

I made Ray a cowl but it may be next year before he wears it - and that is fine with me! The Voss Cowl pattern is by Jeffrey Wall of The Yarn Guys.  The yarn is Tumi by Rauma, a Norwegian yarn that The Yarn Guys carry at their store, Wall of Yarn.

I knit the cowl on a 12" circular needle so I made a tube. Then I had to join the ends using the kitchener stitch, a first for me. It was a learning curve but I think I have it now!


The cowl is soft and warm - perfect for NEXT winter!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Remodeling is done - maybe!

The kitchen is done - check.
This began with refacing the cupboards and grew to include new countertops and backsplash. It was very sunny outside today so some of the photos have bright spots. The upper and lower cupboards are the same color.


The floors are done - check.

After the kitchen was finished, the floors looked horrible. Our house is pretty open and redoing the floors meant redoing the entire first floor except the bathrooms. The kitchen is a vinyl tile that looks like ceramic. We couldn't do ceramic because the refrigerator was too close to the overhead cupboard. 

The living and dining rooms are hardwood - hickory. 


The family room, hallway, and bedroom have frieze carpet. The bathrooms both have ceramic tile that was done a few years ago.

The bedroom is painted - check.
The whole first floor was painted last spring except for the bedroom and bathrooms. The bathrooms were done a few years ago. The bedroom - hmm, we don't remember. It really needed to be done and now it is!


And NOW, we need to do something about drapes and curtains - UGH! 
We really could use some new furniture in the living room but NOT now.

When this whole thing started, I remember saying ok to the cupboards and that we would update the appliances to stainless as each one died. I really didn't know this was going to mushroom out of control. We will live with the window coverings for the time being but they will be replaced...then we're done... unless we decide to get new furniture! Will it ever end??!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Still drying...

Oh yes, the dehydrator is still running and running and running....

I dried cabbage - it is like paper! I did both green and red cabbage but I kept them separate.


I dried some frozen corn. It is very hard when it is dried. It reminds me of field corn and would work great in the bags that one throws in the game Corn Hole until it got wet and rehydrated!


I sliced lemons about 1/4" thick and left the rinds on. Of course, I washed them very well before slicing. They'll look great as a garnish.


I tried corn chips. I guess that was my biggest flop. We really didn't like them although I think they turned out like they were supposed to!


It's was so cold for a while that I didn't wanted to go out to the grocery store. I would go to hockey games and just want to come home to a warm house.! I think I waited an extra 5 days before I finally bought groceries! It was wonderful having all the dried food in the house - we ate well!


We had an Au Gratin Squash Casserole as a side dish for dinner this evening. It's a baked dish - a white sauce with dehydrated onions, dehydrated summer squash (yellow squash and zucchini), and cheddar cheese. This was definitely NOT a flop - we'll be having it again.


Now I am experimenting with more fruit leathers. I want to make some Instant Soup Mixes this week. And I want to make Vegetable Stock powder. There is so much to try!

My dehydrated inventory at the present time:


apple chips with cinnamon and sugar
apples
bananas
blueberries - gone - need more!
grapes
lemons
oranges
pineapple

cabbage - green
cabbage - red
carrot chips
carrot pieces
carrot sticks
cauliflower
celery
garlic - purchased as dehydrated
green beans
lima beans
mushrooms - portabella
mushrooms - white
okra
onions - getting low - need more!
peapods
peas
peppers - colored
peppers - green
potatoes-riced - gone - need more!
potatoes - shredded
potatoes - sliced
zucchini shredded
zucchini and yellow squash slices

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Dehydrator Is Still Running

The dehydrated is still being used most of the time. One of these days, I'll slow down but right now there is so much to learn and to try.

I've done some potato slices since I last posted. I cooked the potatoes. Then I peeled and sliced them. Next time I will peel and slice first and then cook. I think it will be easier to slice on the mandolin. They dried fine and I can use them in scalloped potatoes or soup or whatever.

There were some pieces of potato as a result of trying to use the mandolin to slice them. So I 'mashed' up the pieces with a fork because I was too lazy to go get the ricer. They dried fine. One of these days I'll try rehydrating them and adding a little butter and milk... It might work!

I tried okra - I used frozen slice okra so I just put it on a tray and dehydrated. It worked fine and I've already used some in a stir fry.

The lima beans dried fine. I used frozen ones. I haven't used any of the dehydrated ones yet. 

I had frozen some chopped green peppers last fall. They are now out of the freezer and dried. Earlier I tried some colored peppers. I cut them up, blanched them, and then dehydrated them. All dried fine and I've used them in a number of dishes.

I've done more grapes - they take forever but are so good! I do blanch them and wonder if they would dry faster if they were in boiling water longer than 1 minute.


Right now there are banana chips, apple slices, and pea pods in the dehydrator because the bananas weren't going to be used before they became overripe, we are almost out of apple slices, and I had some leftover pea pods from a stir fry the other night. Yes, this really is going to save money!

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